Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 October 2011) . . Page.. 5013 ..
The types of failures that we are seeing are broad ranging. What we have seen is that at the moment the inspection rate is identifying about a 50 per cent fail rate in the first instance from the Planning and Land Authority’s electrical safety inspections. That means of course that that inspection has to recur prior to a final inspection being booked with ActewAGL. Of course every inspection which fails is another inspection that needs to be done because the installation has to be reinspected and that obviously adds to the overall waiting list.
The natures of the failures are many but they can include a range of issues which I would not attempt to be completely proficient with—I would seek further advice from the regulator in relation to these matters—but needless to say they are not meeting the required Australian standards in terms of installation and therefore they cannot be passed for approval and they cannot be connected.
So, whilst this is of concern to residents who have paid money to have these systems installed, I would simply reiterate that the government’s objective is that it is about safety first; it is about ensuring that we do not have systems on roofs that present a danger to the houses’ inhabitants or that potentially could cause a fire in the premises. The double inspection regime ensures that we maintain a very high level of safety and prevent to the greatest extent possible any accident that could cause harm or an even more serious impact on individuals.
MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary question.
MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, what action has the government taken to reduce the times that residents wait for these inspections?
MR CORBELL: We are working very hard to get through this backlog as soon as possible. The electrical safety inspectorate is working very hard. We have considerable numbers of staff working overtime. We have recruited additional electrical safety inspectors to the directorate to improve our response times. But it is important to remember that our electrical safety inspectors are not just inspecting PV installations; they also have to inspect all new homes before a certificate of occupancy can be granted, to ensure that those homes’ electrical systems are safe. So they have a range of other duties that they have to perform.
We do give first priority to the granting of certificates of occupancy, particularly as we move towards the end of the year. Many people plan to complete their construction projects by the end of the year so that they can move in prior to Christmas. Obviously it is important that we process those particular actions as a high priority, and that is exactly what our electrical safety inspectors do. But we are working very hard as well to progress through the backlog that has been generated in relation to PV systems.
I am confident that every possible step is being undertaken. It is not easy to simply go out and secure additional inspectors. Inspectors have to be trained to the relevant standards to ensure that systems are appropriately tested and inspected and that they themselves understand what standards need to be maintained. But we have been able